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Publication numberUS5548515 A
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 08/117,920
Publication dateAug 20, 1996
Filing dateSep 7, 1993
Priority dateOct 9, 1990
Fee statusPaid
Also published asCA2070840A1, EP0592436A1, EP0592436A4, US5740047, WO1992006442A1
Publication number08117920, 117920, US 5548515 A, US 5548515A, US-A-5548515, US5548515 A, US5548515A
InventorsHarold R. Pilley, Lois V. Pilley
Original AssigneePilley; Harold R., Pilley; Lois V.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and system for airport control and management
US 5548515 A
Abstract
An improved airport control/management system for controlling and managing the surface and airborne movement of vehicular and aircraft within a defined and selected airport space envelope of an airport, the traffic, comprising apparatus for establishing a precise 3-dimensional digital map of the selected airport space envelope, the map containing GNSS positioning system reference points, a computer with a monitor screen for receiving and displaying the 3-dimensional map, transmit and receive radio equipment located on at least one vehicle/aircraft in the airport space envelope to generate and transmit continuous GNSS-based location reports, a receiver associated with the computer to receive the reports from the vehicle/aircraft, programming associated with the computer and using the reports to superimpose 3-dimensional image corresponding to a path of the vehicle/aircraft onto the 3-dimensional map, apparatus associated with the 3-dimensional map for generating airport control and management signals as a function of the vehicle/aircraft path and computer aided design programming for manipulation of the 3-dimensional map and the image of the vehicle/aircraft and the path to a desired apparent line of observation, to control the traffic in the airport, the improvement comprising: GNSS compatible computer processing methods which support airport independent management and control for zone incursion, collision detection, on and off course detection, assignment of air traffic controller responsibility, scheduling and lighting control. GNSS compatible databases are created which support a true airport independent processing framework which supports a seamless airport environment located anywhere in the world.
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Claims(14)
The invention having thus been described, and what is claimed as new and desired to secure by Letters of Patent is:
1. A method for seamless 3-dimensional airport traffic management from a central control facility using a computer system incorporating zone incursion processing for at least one vehicle of a plurality of vehicles said plurality of vehicles including aircraft and surface vehicular equipment operating at an airport, said method comprising the steps of:
a. adopting an Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate frame for processing by said computer system;
b. selecting an airport, said selected airport referenced to said Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate frame.;
c. establishing a 3-dimensional static zones database for said selected airport, said database containing descriptive data representing selected spatial characteristics referenced to said Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate frame of said selected airport;
d. establishing a vehicle database, said vehicle database containing identification, and position and velocity information referenced to said Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate frame for at least one vehicle operating at said selected airport;
e. generating time-based projected positions for said at least one vehicle using said vehicle database;
f. determining if said projected positions lie within a static zone, said static zone being defined within said 3-dimensional static zones database; and
g. setting a static zone incursion flag for said at least one vehicle if said projected positions lie within said static zone of said 3-dimensional static zones database thereby making an alert when said at least one vehicle operating at said selected airport is projected to enter a prohibited area for said at least one vehicle.
2. The method for seamless 3-dimensional airport traffic management according to claim 1 further comprising:
generating incursion alarms, said generation of incursion alarms comprising the steps of;
a. establishing a travel path waypoints database for said selected airport, said travel path waypoints database containing 3-dimensional waypoints referenced to said Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate frame;
b. generating for said at least one vehicle an assigned travel path, selected from said travel path waypoints database; and
c. enabling said static zone incursion flag for said incurred static zones not intersecting said assigned travel path, thereby generating for said at least one vehicle said static zone incursion alarm for said incurred static zones not intersecting said assigned travel path.
3. The method for seamless 3-dimensional airport traffic management according to claim 2 further comprising:
reducing generation of false zone incursion alarms, said reducing generation of false zone incursion alarms comprising the steps of;
a. masking said static zone incursion flag for incurred static zones intersecting said assigned travel path, and
b. disabling for said at least one vehicle a static zone incursion alarm for incurred static zones intersecting said assigned travel path thereby reducing generation of said false zone incursion alarms.
4. The method for seamless 3-dimensional airport traffic management according to claim 2 further comprising using said static zone incursion flag for generating said at least one vehicle said static zone incursion alarm for said incurred static zones.
5. A method for seamless 3-dimensional airport traffic management from a central control facility using a computer system incorporating on and off course processing for at least one vehicle of a plurality of vehicles said plurality of vehicles including aircraft and surface vehicular equipment operating at an airport, said method comprising the steps of:
a. adopting an Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate frame for processing by said computer system;
b. selecting an airport, said selected airport referenced to said Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate frame;
c. establishing a travel path waypoints database for said selected airport, said travel path waypoints database containing 3-dimensional waypoints referenced to said Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate frame;
d. establishing a vehicle database, said vehicle database containing identification and position information referenced to said Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate frame for said at least one vehicle operating at said selected airport;
e. generating for said at least one vehicle an assigned travel path selected from said travel path waypoints database;
f. determining the previous and next waypoints along said assigned travel path;
g. establishing for said at least one vehicle, a route zone for said assigned travel path, using said previous and next waypoints;
h. determining if said position information for said at least one vehicle contained in said vehicle database is outside of said route zone; and
i. setting for said at least one vehicle an off course flag when said position information for each said at least one vehicle contained in said vehicle database is outside of said route zone, thereby making an alert when said at least one vehicle is off course.
6. The method for seamless 3-dimensional airport traffic management according to claim 5 further comprising the step of disabling said off course flag if said position information for said at least one vehicle contained in said vehicle database is no longer outside of said route zone.
7. A method for seamless 3-dimensional airport traffic management from a central control facility using a computer system incorporating wrong way monitoring for at least one vehicle of a plurality of vehicles said plurality of vehicles including aircraft and surface vehicular equipment operating at an airport, said method comprising the steps of:
a. adopting an Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate frame for processing by said computer system;
b. selecting an airport, said selected airport referenced to said Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate frame;
c. establishing a travel path waypoints database for said selected airport, said travel path waypoints database containing 3-dimensional waypoints referenced to said Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate frame;
d. establishing a vehicle database, said vehicle database containing identification and position and velocity information referenced to said Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate frame for said at least one vehicle operating at said selected airport;
e. generating for said at least one vehicle an assigned travel path, selected from said travel path waypoints database;
f. determining the previous and next waypoints along said assigned travel path;
g. determining a true course vector to said next waypoint from said previous waypoint;
h. determining a velocity vector of said at least one vehicle using said vehicle data base;
i. determining a vector DOT product between said true course vector and said velocity vector;
j. calculating an angle between said true course vector and said velocity vector using said vector DOT product; and
k. setting for said at least one vehicle a wrong way flag if said angle is within a specified numerical range thereby generating a wrong way flag for said at least one vehicle if said at least one vehicle is traveling the wrong way.
8. The method for seamless 3-dimensional airport traffic management according to claim 7 further comprising:
a. determining the 3-dimensional range to said next waypoint using said position information for said at least one vehicle contained in said vehicle database; and
b. incrementing automatically to the next waypoint pair in said travel path waypoints database when the 3-dimensional range to said next waypoint is within a predetermined distance.
9. The method for seamless 3-dimensional airport traffic management according to claim 7 further comprising reducing incidence of wrong way false alarm, said reducing incidence of wrong way false alarm comprising the steps of:
a. incrementing to the next pair of previous and next waypoints contained in said travel path waypoints database for said at least one vehicle having said wrong way flag set;
b. determining a current position and a previous position for said at least one vehicle using said vehicle database, wherein said current position becomes said previous position upon the receipt of a new position in said vehicle database, and said new position becoming said current position;
c. determining the current distance to said next waypoint from said current position for said at least one vehicle having said wrong way flag set;
d. determining the previous distance to said next waypoint from said previous position for said at least one vehicle having said wrong way flag set;
e. comparing said previous distance to said current distance; and
f. clearing said at least one vehicle wrong way flag when current distance is smaller than said previous distance.
10. A method for seamless 3-dimensional airport traffic management from a central control facility using a computer system and incorporating collision detection processing between at least two vehicles of a plurality of vehicles said plurality of vehicles including aircraft and surface vehicular equipment operating at an airport, said method comprising the steps of:
a. adopting an Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate frame for processing by said computer system;
b. selecting an airport, said selected airport referenced to said Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate frame;
c. establishing a vehicle database, said vehicle database containing identification and position and velocity information referenced to said Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate frame for at least two vehicles operating at said selected airport;
d. determining a type classification for said at least two vehicles using said identification information contained in said vehicle database;
e. determining a manner of movement and of operation for said at least two vehicles, using information contained in said vehicle database;
f. constructing for said at least two vehicles dynamic zones, wherein each said dynamic zones is sized based on said type classification and said manner of movement and of operation of said at least two vehicles using said identification and position and velocity information in said vehicle database;
g. generating time-based projected positions for said at least two vehicles using said vehicle database;
h. generating projected dynamic zones for said at least two vehicles using said projected positions and said projected dynamic zones;
i. determining if at least two of said projected dynamic zones intersect; and
j. setting a collision flag for at least one of said at least two vehicles having said projected dynamic zones intersect with at least one other projected dynamic zone.
11. A method for seamless 3-dimensional airport traffic management from a central control facility using a computer system incorporating flight strip free automated assignment of control and management responsibility for at least one vehicle of a plurality of vehicles said plurality of vehicles including aircraft and surface vehicular equipment operating at an airport, said method comprising the steps of:
a. adopting an Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate frame for processing by said computer system;
b. selecting an airport, said selected airport reference to said Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate reference frame;
c. establishing for at least one air traffic controlling position, at least one 3-dimensional ATC zone reference to said Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate reference frame, wherein said at least one 3-dimensional ATC zone is stored in an ATC zone database;
d. identifying for said at least one 3-dimensional ATC zone a controlling ATC position;
e. establishing a vehicle database, said vehicle database containing identification and position information reference to said Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate reference frame for at least one vehicle operating at said selected airport;
f. determining for said vehicle which ATC zone said position information contained in said vehicle database incur; and
g. assigning ATC said control and management responsibility for said at least one vehicle based on the incurred ATC zone.
12. A method for seamless 3-dimensional airport traffic management from a central control facility using a computer system for the automatic control of airport lighting based on the movements of at least one vehicle of a plurality of vehicles said plurality of vehicles including aircraft and surface vehicular equipment operating at an airport, said method comprising the steps of:
a. adopting an Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate frame for processing by said computer system;
b. selecting an airport, said selected airport referenced to said Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate reference frame;
c. establishing 3-dimensional lighting control zones, said 3-dimensional lighting control zones stored in a static zones database, said static zones database containing descriptive data representing spatial characteristics reference to said Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate reference frame, of said selected airport used in the activation and deactivation of airport lights;
d. establishing a vehicle database, said vehicle database containing identification and position and velocity information reference to said Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate reference frame for said at least one vehicle operating at said selected airport;
e. generating time-based projected positions for said at least one vehicle using said vehicle database;
f. determining if said time-based projected positions lie within at least one of said 3-D dimensional lighting control zones;
g. setting a lighting control zone incursion flag if said time-based projected positions lies within said 3-dimensional lighting control zones; and
h. controlling said airport lights based upon the state of said lighting control incursion flag.
13. A method for seamless 3-dimensional airport traffic management from a central control facility using a computer system incorporating speed up or slow down indicators for at least one vehicle of a plurality of vehicles said plurality of vehicles including aircraft and surface vehicular equipment operating an airport, said method comprising the steps of:
a. adopting an Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate frame for processing by said computer system;
b. selecting an airport, said selected airport referenced to said Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate reference frame:
c. establishing a travel path waypoints database for said selected airport, said travel path waypoints database containing 4-dimensional waypoints reference to said Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate reference frame where said 4-dimensional waypoints include a 3-dimensional waypoint with desired arrival time;
d. establishing a vehicle database, said vehicle database containing identification, position and velocity information reference to said Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate reference frame for at least one vehicle operating at said selected airport;
e. generating for said at least one vehicle an assigned travel path selected from said travel path waypoints database;
f. determining previous and next waypoints with desired arrival times along said assigned travel path;
g. determining for said at least one vehicle a 3-dimensional distance vector from the current position to the next waypoint;
h. establishing a current time;
i. determining a remaining time for said at least one vehicle to reach said next waypoint, by subtracting said current time from said desired arrival time associated with said next waypoint;
j. calculating for said at least one vehicle a necessary 3-dimensional vector velocity to reach said next waypoint at said associated desired arrival time, by dividing said 3-dimensional distance vector by said remaining time;
k. comparing said necessary 3-dimensional vector velocity to said velocity information contained in said vehicle database; and
l. issuing for said at least one vehicle, 3-dimensional vector velocity increase or decrease guidance based upon said comparing said necessary 3-dimensional vector velocity to said velocity information contained in said vehicle database.
14. The method for seamless 3-dimensional airport traffic management according to claim 13 further comprising generating velocity warnings, said generating velocity warnings comprising the steps of:
a. comparing said necessary 3-dimensional vector velocity to predefined velocity limits; and
b. generating warnings when said necessary 3-dimensional vector velocity is outside of said predefined limits.
Description

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 07/758,852, filed on Sep. 12, 1991, which in turn is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 07/593,214, filed on Oct. 9, 1990, now U.S. Pat. No. 5,200,902, which issued on Apr. 6, 1993.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Today's airport terminal operations are complex and varied from airport to airport. Airports today are, in many cases, the limiting factor in aviation system capacity. Each airport has a unique set of capacity limiting factors which may include; limited tarmac, runways, suitable approaches, navigational or/and Air Traffic Control (ATC) facilities.

Furthermore, operational requirements in the terminal area involve all facets of aviation, communication, navigation and surveillance. The satisfaction of these requirements with technological/procedural solutions should be based upon three underlying principles; improved safety, improved capacity and cost effectiveness.

The United States alone currently contains some 17,000 airports, heliports and seabases. Presently only the largest of these can justify the investment in dedicated navigation and surveillance systems while the vast majority of smaller airports have neither. Clearly, a new approach is required to satisfy aviation user, airport operator, airline and ATC needs.

It would therefore be an advance in the art to provide a cost effective Airport Control and Management System which would provide navigation, surveillance, collision prediction, zone/runway incursion and automated airport lighting control based on the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) as the primary position and velocity sensor on board participating vehicles. It would be still a further advance of the art if this system were capable of performing the navigation, surveillance, collision prediction, and zone/runway incursion both on board the aircraft/vehicles and at a remote ATC, or other monitoring site.

With the advent of new technologies such as the Global Positioning System, communication and computer technology, the application of new technologies to the management of our airports can provide improved efficiency, enhanced safety and lead to greater profitability for our aviation industry and airport operators.

Considerable activity is now in progress on the integration of GPS technology into the aviation system. Efforts underway by such organizations as Harris Corporation, MIT Lincoln Labs, Terra Star and others are investigating the application of GPS to aviation.

On Aug. 12, 1993, Deering System Design Consultants, Inc. (DSDC) of Deering, N.H., successfully demonstrated their Airport Control & Management System (AC&M) to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). After many years of development efforts, the methods and processes described herein were demonstrated to Mike Harrison of the FAA's Runway Incursion Office, officials from the FAA's Satellite Program Office, the FAA New England Regional Office, the Volpe National Transportation System Center, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, the Office of U.S. Senator Judd Gregg and the Office of U.S. Representative Dick Swett. This was the first time such concepts were reduced to a working demonstrable system.

The inventor has taken an active stand to promote the technology in a public manner and, as such, may have informed others to key elements of this application. The inventor has promoted this technology. DSDC's airports philosophy has been described in general terms to the aviation industry since it was felt industry and government awareness was necessary. The intent of this application is to identify and protect key elements of the system.

With these and other objects in view, as will be apparent to those skilled in the art, the AC&MSM invention stated herein is unique and promotes public well being.

This invention most generally is a system and a method for the control of surface and airborne traffic within a defined space envelope. GNSS-based, or GPS-based data is used to define and create a 3-dimensional map, define locations, to compute trajectories, speeds, velocities, static and dynamic regions and spaces or volumes (zones) including zones identified as forbidden zones. Databases are also created, which are compatible with the GNSS dam. Some of these databases may contain, vehicle information such as type and shape, static zones including zones specific to vehicle type which are forbidden to the type of vehicle, notice to airmen (notams) characterized by the information or GNSS dam. The GNSS data in combination with the data bases is used, for example, by air traffic control, to control and manage the flow of traffic approaching and departing the airport and the control of the flow of surface vehicles and taxiing aircraft. All or a selected group of vehicles may have GNSS receivers. Additionally, all or a selected group may have bi-directional digital data and voice communications between vehicles and also with air traffic control. All of the data is made compatible for display on a screen or selected screens for use and observation including screens located on selected vehicles and aircraft. Vehicle/aircraft data may be compatibly superimposed with the 3-dimensional map data and the combination of data thus displayed or displayable may be manipulated to provide selected viewing. The selected viewing may be in the form of choice of the line of observation, the viewing may be by layers based upon the data and the objective for the use of the data.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is, therefore, an object of this invention to provide the following:

1.) A 4-D process logic flow which provides a "seamless" airport environment on the ground and in the air anywhere in the world with a common 3-D coordinate reference and time.

2.) An Airport Control and Management Method and System which utilizes GNSS, 3-D maps, precise waypoint navigation based on the ECEF reference frame, a digital full duplex. communication link and a comprehensive array of processing logic methods implemented in developed operational software

3.) An Airport Control and Management Method and System where a vehicle based 4-D navigational computer and ATC computer utilize the same coordinate reference and precise time standard.

4.) A database management method compatible with 3-D waypoint storage and presentation in 3-D digital maps.

5.) A automated method utilizing the precise 3-D airport map for the definition and creation of airport routes and travel ways.

6.) A 4-D process logic flow which provides precise vehicle waypoint navigation in the air and on the ground. This process allows for monitoring of on or off course conditions for vehicles and aircraft operating within the airport space envelope on board the vehicle.

7.) A 4-D process logic flow which provides precise ATC waypoint navigation mirroring of actual vehicles in the air and on the ground at ATC. This process allows for monitoring of on or off course conditions for vehicles and aircraft operating within the airport space envelope at the ATC computer.

8.) A 4-D process logic flow performed on board the vehicle which provides for precise collision prediction based on 3-dimensional zones

9.) A 4-D process logic flow performed at the ATC computer which provides for precise collision prediction based on 3-dimensional zones

10.) A collision detection management method which utilizes the application of false alarm reducing methods.

11.) An ATC process logic flow which detects 3-D runway incursions. The process logic then generates message alerts and controls airport lights.

12.) An ATC zone management method which utilizes the application of false alarm reducing methods.

13.) A vehicle process logic flow which detects 3-D runway incursions. The process logic then generates message alerts and sounds tones within the vehicle or aircraft.

14.) A vehicle zone management method which utilizes the application of false alarm reducing methods.

15.) A 4-D ATC process logic flow which manages ground and air "Clearances" with precise waypoint navigation aboard the vehicle and at the ATC computer.

16.) A 4-D ATC process logic flow which manages ground and air "Clearances" incorporating an integrated system of controlling airport lights.

17.) A 4-D vehicle process logic flow which manages ground and air "Clearances" with an integrated system of waypoint navigation.

18.) A method of management for 3-D spatial constructs called zones.

19.) A method of management for 3-D graphical constructs called zones.

20.) A method of management for the automated generation of a zones database at any airport.

21.) A database management method for the storage of zones data. Zones database management methods are used aboard the vehicle and at ATC.

22.) A operational management method where the ATC computer provides navigational instructions to vehicles and aircraft The instructions result in a travel path with clear paths defined being displayed in an airport map.

23.) A operational management method where the ATC computer provides navigational instructions to vehicles and aircraft The instructions result in waypoints being entered into a 4-D navigation computer.

24.) A datalink message content which supports the above management methods and processes.

More specifically, the elements mentioned above form the process framework of the invention stated herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The invention may be best understood by reference to one of its structural forms, as illustrated by the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 depicts the high-level Airport Control and Management processing elements and flow.

FIG. 2 represents an example of a cylindrical static zone in a 3-D ALP. This zone could be graphically displayed in a layer of the ALP.

FIG. 3 represents an example of a static zone around a construction area of the airport and is used in zone incursion processing in the vehicles and at the ATC Processor.

FIG. 4 represents an example of a dynamic zone which travels with a moving vehicle, in this case the zone represents the minimum safe clearance spacing which would be used in zone based collision detection processing in the vehicles and at the ATC processor.

FIG. 5 represents an example of a route zone which is defined by navigational waypoints and is used for on/off course processing and is used in the vehicles and at the ATC Processor.

FIG. 6 represents an example of a 3-D ATC zone, used to segregate tracked vehicles to particular ATC stations.

FIG. 7 illustrates the construction of a 3-D runway zone.

FIG. 8 shows a map display with surface waypoints and travel path.

FIG. 9 shows a map display with departure waypoints and travel path.

FIG. 10 illustrates the 4-D collision detection mechanism employed in the Airport Control and Management System.

FIG. 11 waypoint processing diagram showing the earth and ECEF coordinate system, expanded view of airport waypoints, further expanded view of previous and next waypoint geometry with present position, the cross hair display presentation used in the developed GPS navigator.

FIG. 12 Latitude, Longitude plot of a missed approach followed by a touch and go with waypoints indicated about every 20 seconds.

FIG. 13 Altitude vs time for missed approach followed by touch and go, waypoints are indicated about every 20 seconds.

FIG. 14 graphs ECEF X and Y presentation of missed approach followed by a touch and go with waypoints indicated about every 20 seconds.

FIG. 15 graphs ECEF Z versus time of missed approach followed by touch and go, with waypoints about every 20 seconds.

FIG. 16 shows a block diagram of on/off course processing.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT AC&M PROCESSING OVERVIEW

The primary Airport Control and Management (AC&M) functions of the invention utilize a cartesian ECEF X, Y, Z coordinate frame compatible with GNSS. FIG. 1 provides additional detail for the operational elements of the AC&M processing. The GNSS signals broadcast by the vehicles 8 are processed by the Real Time Communication Handler 3 and sent to AC&M Operational Control 1. The Operational Control 1 uses the GNSS data to perform the following processing functions 5: position projections, coordinate conversions, zone detection, collision prediction, runway incursion detection, layer filter, alarm control, and lighting control. If waypoints have been issued to the vehicle 8, mirrored waypoint navigation is also performed by the AC&M processing. The Operational Control 1 interfaces directly to the Graphical Control 2. Graphics messages, including GNSS data and coded information pertaining to zone incursions, possible collision conditions, or off course conditions detected by the AC&M Processing, are passed to the Graphical Control 2. The Graphical Control 2 interprets this data and updates the display presentation accordingly.

The Operational Control 1 function also receives inputs from the Controller/Operator Interface 6. The Controller/Operator Interface uses the data received by Controller/Operator Inputs 7 to compose ATC commands which are sent to the Operational Control 1 function for processing. Commands affecting the presentation on the computer display screen are sent by the Operational Control 1 function to the Graphical Control 2 . ATC commands composed by the Controller/Operator Interface 6 processing that do not require further AC&M processing are forwarded directly to the Graphical Control 2 to update the display screen. Both the Operational Control 1 function and Graphical Control 2 processing have access to the Monumentation, Aircraft/Vehicle, Static Zones, Waypoints, Airport Map, ATIS Interface and Airport Status and other low level data bases 9 to process and manipulate the presentation of map and vehicle data on a computer display screen.

More specifically, each vehicle 8 supports the capability to transmit a minimum of an identifier, the GNSS referenced position of one or more antennas, velocity, optional acceleration and time reports. Since this data is broadcast, it is accessible to the airport control tower, other aircraft and vehicles in the local area, and various airline monitoring or emergency command centers which may perform similar processing functions. ATC commands, processed by the Controller/Operator Interface 6 and Operational Control 1 function are passed to the Real Time Communication Handler 3 for transmission to the aircraft/vehicle(s) 8. Upon receipt of ATC messages, the vehicle(s) 8 return an acknowledgment message which is received by the Real Time Communication Handler 3 and passed to the Operational Control 1 function. Differential GNSS corrections are generated by the Differential GPS Processor 4 and passed to the Real Time Communication Handler 3 for broadcast to the vehicles. The Real Time Communication Handler 8 performs the following functions at a minimum:

a. Initialize ATC computer communication lines

b. Initialize radio equipment

c. Establish communication links

d. Receive vehicle identifier, positions, velocity, time and other information

e. Receive information from ATC Processor to transmit to vehicle(s)

f. Receive ATC acknowledgment messages from vehicle(s)

g. Transmit information to all vehicles or to selected vehicles by controlling frequency and/or identifier tags

h. Monitor errors or new information being transmitted

i. Receive and broadcast differential correction data

The AC&M techniques and methods described herein provide for GNSS compatible 4-Dimensional Airport Control and Management.

THE 3-D DIGITAL AIRPORT LAYOUT PLAN

The combination of ECEF navigation combined with NAD 83 (Lat, Lon, MSL and State Plane) and WGS 84 (X,Y,Z) based 3-D airport features are necessary in constructing an airport layout plan (ALP). The Airport Control and Management System (AC&M) requires that navigation and Automatic Dependent Surveillance (ADS) information used in collision detection processing share the same coordinate frame. The processing methods described herein, require very accurate and properly monumented airport layout plans. Physical features surrounding the airport may be surveyed in a local coordinate frame and, as such, require accurate transformation into the airport map/processing coordinate frame. For these reasons, the use of multi-monumented coordinate references is mandatory for such map construction and survey. Clearly, highly accurate 3-D maps are required when using precise GNSS based navigation, collision avoidance and overall Airport Control and Management for life critical airport applications.

The 3-D ALP database and display presentation support the concept of zones. The display of zone information is managed using the Map Layer Filter. Zones are two and three dimensional shapes which are used to provide spatial cueing for a number of design constructs. Static zones may be defined around obstacles which may pose a hazard to navigation such as transmission towers, tall buildings, and terrain features. Zones may also be keyed to the airport's NOTAMS, identifying areas of the airport which have restricted usage. Dynamic zones are capable of movement. For example, a dynamic zone may be constructed around moving vehicles or hazardous weather areas. A route zone is a 3-D zone formed along a travel path such as a glide slope. Zone processing techniques are also applied to the management of travel clearances and for the detection of runway incursions. Zones may also be associated with each aircraft or surface vehicle to provide collision prediction information.

OPERATIONAL PROJECTIONS

AC&M projection processing utilizes received GNSS ADS messages from a datalink. The complete received message is then checked for errors using CRC error detection techniques or a error correcting code. The message contains the following information, or a subset thereof, but not limited to:

______________________________________PVT ADS DATA______________________________________ID #                   8 CharactersVEHICLE TYPE           4 CharactersCURRENT POSITION:X = ECEF X Position (M)                  10 CharactersY = ECEF Y Position (M)                  10 CharactersZ = ECEF Z Position (M)                  10 CharactersX2 = ECEF X2 Position (M)                  2 Characters *Y2 = ECEF Y2 Position (M)                  2 Characters *Z2 = ECEF Z2 Position (M)                  2 Characters *X3 = ECEF X3 Position (M)                  2 Characters *Y3 = ECEF Y3 Position (M)                  2 Characters *Z3 = ECEF Z3 Position (M)                  2 Characters *VX = ECEF X Velocity (M/S)                  4 CharactersVY = ECEF Y Velocity (M/S)                  4 CharactersVZ = ECEF Z Velocity (M/S)                  4 CharactersAX = ECEF X Acceleration (M/S2)                  2 Characters #AY = ECEF Y Acceleration (M/S2)                  2 Characters #AZ = ECEF Z Acceleration (M/S2)                  2 Characters #TIME                   8 CharactersTOTAL CHARACTERS/MESSAGE:                  80 Characters______________________________________ * OPTIONAL FIELD, FOR DETERMINING VEHICLES ATTITUDE IN 3D DIGITAL MAP DAT BASE # OPTIONAL ACCELERATION FIELD

A database is constructed using the ADS message reports. The AC&M processing converts the position and velocity information to the appropriate coordinate frame (if necessary, speed in knots and a true north heading). Simple first and second order time projections based upon position, velocity and acceleration computations are used. The ability to smooth and average the velocity information is also possible using time weighted averages. ##EQU1##

This set of simple projection relationships is used in the collision prediction and zone incursion processing methods.

ZONE DATABASE

Zone areas may be defined in the initial map data base construction or may be added to the map database using a 2-D or 3-D data entry capability. The data entry device may be used to construct a zone using a digital map in the following manner:

Using the displayed map, the data entry device is used to enter the coordinates of a shape around the area to be designated as a zone. (An example may be a construction area closed to aircraft traffic listed in the current NOTAMS.)

The corners of the polygon are saved along with a zone type code after the last corner is entered. Circles and spheres are noted by the center point and a radius, cylinders are noted as a circle and additional height qualifying information. Other shapes are defined and entered in a similar fashion.

The zone is stored as a list of X, Y, Z coordinates. Lines connecting the points form a geometric shape corresponding to the physical zone in the selected color, line type and style in the proper layer of the base map.

Zone information may then be used by collision detection and boundary detection software contained in the AC&M system. This processing software is explained later in this specification.

FIG. 2 depicts a 3-D cylindrical static zone around a hypothetical utility pole. This zone 10 is added into the airport map 11, while the specific coordinates (center point of base 12, radius of circular base 13, and the height 14) are saved to the zone file list in a convenient coordinate frame. Below is an example of a zone which is stored in the zone database.

______________________________________IDENTIFIER           PARAMETER______________________________________Utility pole         Type of ZoneCenter of base       X, Y, ZRadius of base       RHeight of the cylinder                H______________________________________

The 3-D digital map 11 is then updated using a series of graphic instructions to draw the zone 10 into the map with specific graphic characteristics such as line type, line color, area fill and other characteristics.

A database of zone information containing zones in surface coordinates such as X & Y state plane coordinates and mean sea level, ECEF referenced X, Y, Z and others are accessible to the AC&M Processing. The database may consist of, but is not limited to the following type of zones.

______________________________________OBJECT OF THE ZONE______________________________________TRANSMISSION TOWERSAIRPORT CONSTRUCTION AREASCLOSED AREAS OF AIRPORTMOUNTAINSTALL BUILDINGSAREAS OFF TAXIWAY AND RUNWAYRESTRICTED AIRSPACEINVISIBLE BOUNDARIES BETWEENAIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER AREASAPPROACH ENVELOPEDEPARTURE ENVELOPEAREAS SURROUNDING THE AIRPORTMOVING ZONES AROUND AIRCRAFT/VEHICLESZONE PROCESSING______________________________________

The zone information is retrieved from a zone database. As the AC&M Processor receives current ADS reports, information on each position report is checked for zone incursion. Further processing utilizes velocity and acceleration information to determine projected position and potential collision hazards. If a current position or projected position enters a zone area or presents a collision hazard an alert is generated.

A zone is any shape which forms a 2-D or 3-D figure such as but not limited to a convex polygon (2-D or 3-D), or a circular (2-D), spherical (3-D), cylindrical (3-D) or conical shape represented as a mathematical formula or as a series of coordinate points. Zones are stored in numerous ways based upon the type of zone. The coordinate system of the map and the units of measure greatly affect the manner in which zones are constructed, stored and processed.

The invention described herein utilizes four primary types of 2-D and 3-D zones in the Airport Control and Management System.

FOUR PRIMARY ZONE TYPES

The first type zone is a static zone as shown in FIG. 3. Static zones represent static non-moving objects, such as radio towers, construction areas, or forbidden areas off limits to particular vehicles. The zone 15 shown in the FIG. 3 represents a closed area of the airport which is under construction. The zone 15 is a 3-D zone with a height of 100 Meters 16, since it is desired not to have aircraft flying low over the construction site, but high altitude passes over the zone are permitted. An example of a permitted flyover path 17 and a forbidden fly through path 18 are shown in the figure. The fly through will produce a zone incursion, while the flyover will not.

A second zone type is shown in FIG. 4 and represents a dynamic zone 19 which moves with a moving vehicle or aircraft. Dynamic zones may be sized and shaped for rough check purposes or may be used to describe the minimum safe clearance distance. The dynamic zone is capable of changing size and shape as a function of velocity and or phase of flight and characterized by vehicle or aircraft type.

The third type zone is shown in FIG. 5 and is a route zone. Route zones are described though the use of travel waypoints 21 and 22. The waypoints 21 and 22 define the center line of a travel path, the zone has a specified allowable travel radius X1, Y1 at Waypoint 1 21 and X2, Y2 at Waypoint 2 22 for the determination of on or off course processing. For simplicity X1 may equal X2 and Y1 may equal Y2. On course 23 operations result in travel which is within the zone, while off course 24 operations result in travel which is outside the zone and result in an off course warning.

The fourth type zone(s) shown in FIG. 6 is a 3-D zone which is dynamic and used to sort ATC traffic by. This type zone is used to segregate information to various types of controller/operator positions, ie. ground control, clearance delivery, Crash Fire and Rescue and others. Travel within a particular zone automatically defines which ATC position or station the traffic is managed by. For example travel within zone 1 25 is directed to ATC ground station, while travel within zone 2 26 is directed to ATC Clearance Delivery position. The ATC zone concept allows for automatic handoff from one controllers position to the other as well as providing overall database the management automation.

The construct of zones is very important to the overall operation of the described invention herein. Further examples of zone processing methods and zone definition is provided below.

EXAMPLE #1

A cylindrical zone on the airport surface constructed using the state plane coordinate system would be represented as the following:

______________________________________Center point of circle         CXsp value, CYsp valueElevation (MSL)         Elev = constant, or may be a rangeCircle radius CR value______________________________________

The detection of a zone incursion (meaning that the position is within the 2-D circle) is described below.

______________________________________Convert position to State Plane coordinates______________________________________Current or projected          Xsp, YsppositionSubtract circle center          Xsp - CXsp = DXspfrom current position          Ysp - CYsp = DYspDetermine distance from          DXsp2 + DYsp2 = Rsp2circle centerTest if position is in          Rsp < = CRcircle         If true continue          If not true exit not in zoneTest if position is          Min Elev < = Elev < = Max Elevwithin altitude range(a cylindrical zone)______________________________________

If the above conditions are met, the position is in the 3-D cylindrical zone. It can be seen that the basic methods used here are applicable to other grid or coordinate systems based on linear distances.

EXAMPLE #2

A cylindrical zone on the airport surface (normal with the airport surface) constructed using the Earth Centered Earth Fixed coordinate system is stored using three axis (X, Y, Z).

______________________________________Convert current position             X, Y, Zto ECEFCenter point of circle             CX value, CY value, CZ valueCircle radius     CR valueDetermine distance from             (X - CX) = DXcurrent or projected position             (Y - CY) = DYto center of circle             (Z - CZ) = DZDetermine radial distance             DX2 + DY2 + DZ2 = R2to circle center point fromcurrent positionTest position to see if it             R < = CRis in sphere of radius R             If true continue             If not true exit not in zoneDetermine the vector between             VC = CXE + CYE + CZEthe center of the circleand the center of mass ofthe earthCalculate its magnitude             VC2 =CXE2 + CYE2 + CZE2Determine the vector between the             V = VX + VY + VZcenter of mass of the earth andthe current or projected positionCalculate its magnitude             V2 = VX2 + VY2 + VZ2Determine the difference between             V - VC = 0the two vectors, if result = 0then in the 2-D zone, if the resultis <0 then position is below, if>0 then Position is above the zone______________________________________

To check for incursion into an ECEF cylindrical zone, the following is tested for.

______________________________________Test if position is           Min Vc < = V < = Max VCwithin Vector range(a cylindrical zone)Where     Min VC represents the bottom of the cylinder     Max VC represents the top of the cylinder______________________________________

The final two tests use an approximation which greatly simplifies the processing overhead associated with zone incursion detection. The assumption assumes that over the surface area of an airport, the vector between the center of mass of the earth circular zone center and the vector from the current position to the center of the circle are coincident. That is, the angle between the two vectors is negligible.

The second assumption based on the first approximation is that, rather than perform complex coordinate reference transformations for zone shapes not parallel with the earth's surface, projections normal to the surface of the earth will be used. Zones which are not parallel with the earth's surface are handled in a manner similar to that applied to on or off course waypoint processing using rotation about a point or center line.

EXAMPLE #3

A zone which is shaped like a polygon is initially defined as a series of points. The points may be entered using a data entry device and a software program with respect to the digital map or they may be part of the base digital map. The points are then ordered in a manner which facilitates processing of polygon zone incursion. The following examples indicate how a (4 sided) polygon is stored and how an airport surface zone incursion is performed using both the state plane coordinates and Earth Centered Earth Fixed X, Y, Z coordinates.

______________________________________Convert Position to SP          Xsp, Ysp,State Plane Zone          X1sp,Y1sp; X2sp,Y2sp;Vertices       X3sp,Y3sp; X4sp,Y4spOrder in a clockwisedirectionHeight of 3- D zone          min Elev max ElevDetermine min & max          Xspmax, Xspmin, Yspmax, Yspminvalues for X & YPerform rough check          Is Xspmin < = Ysp < = Xspmaxof current position          Is Yspmin < = Xsp < = Yspmaxor projected position          If both true then continue          with zone checking          If not true exit, not in zoneCalculate the slope          (Y2sp - Y1sp)/(X2sp - X1sp) = Mof the line betweenpoints 1 & 2Calculate the slope of          mnormal = -(l/m)the line from the presentposition normal to theline between points 1 & 2Determine the equation          Y1sp - M * X1sp = Lbetween points 1 & 2Determine the equation          Ysp - Mnor * Xsp = LNfor the line normal to theline between points 1 & 2and positionDetermine the intersection          (LN - L)/(m - Mnor)of both lines  intYsp = Mnor * intXsp +          (Ysp - Mnor * Xsp)Determine the offset from          Xsp - intXsp = DXspposition to intersect          Ysp - intYsp = DYsppoint on the line betweenpoints 1 & 2Perform check to see which          Check the sign of DXspside of the line the position          Check the sign of DYspis onIf the point is on the proper          Meaning the signs areside continue and check          o.k.the next line between points2 & 3 and perform the sameanalysisIf the line is on the wrongside of the line, then notin the zone hence exitIf point is on the properside of all (4) lines ofpolygon then in 2-D zoneNote: if the zone vertices are entered in a counter clockwise direction the sign of DXsp and DYsp are swapped.Test if Position is          Min Elev < = Elev < = Max Elevwithin altitude range(a 3-D polygon zone)______________________________________
EXAMPLE #4

A further example is provided in the definition of a 3-D runway zone using ECEF X,Y,Z. A list of runway corners is constructed using the 3-D map and a data entry device and an automated software tool. The runway zone is shown in FIG. 7.

The horizontal outline the runway 27 by selecting the four corners C1,C2,C3,C4 in a clockwise direction 28, starting anywhere on the closed convex polygon formed by the runway 27

Define the thickness of the zone (height above the runway) 29

The 4 corner 3-D coordinates and min and max altitudes are obtained through the use of a program using the ALP, then conversion are performed if necessary to convert from ALP coordinates to ECEF X, Y, Z values. ##EQU2## Define the (4) planes formed by the vectors originating at the center of mass of the earth and terminating at the respective four runway corners. Represent the 4 planes by the vector cross product as indicated below: ##EQU3## Store the vector cross products in the polygon zones database, where the number of stored vector cross products equals the number of sides of the convex polygon

Determine if the present position or projected position is within the zone (PP=position to be checked) ##EQU4## Determine the scalar Dot product between the current position and the previously calculated Cross Product ##EQU5## If the products are negative then PP is within the volume defined by intersection planes, if it is positive the outside the volume defined by the intersecting planes

Note: the signs reverse if one proceeds around the zone in a counter clockwise direction during the definition process

Determine if PP is within the height confines of the zone

Determine the magnitude of the PP vector, for an origin at center of mass of the earth. ##EQU6## Compare PPM=(PP magnitude) to minimum altitude of zone and maximum altitude of zone ##EQU7## If the above relationship is true then in the zone. If false then outside of the zone

An alternate method of determining if the present position PP is within a zone which is not normal to the earth's surface is determined using a method similar to that above, expect that all N sides of the zone are represented as normal cross products, the corresponding Dot products are calculated and their total products inspected for sign. Based upon the sign of the product PP is either out of or inside of the zone.

An example of actual Zone and Runway Incursion software code is contained shown below. The actual code includes interfaces to light control, clearance status, tones and other ATC functions. ##SPC1##

Since the extension to polygons of N sides based upon the previous concepts are easily understood, the derivation has been omitted for the sake of brevity.

In summary two mathematical methods are identified for detecting zone incursions into convex polygons, one based on the equation and slope of the lines, the other is based on vector cross and dot product operators.

The concept of zones, regardless as to whether they are referenced to surface coordinates, local grid systems or ECEF coordinates, provide a powerful analytical method for use in the Airport Control and Management System.

ZONE BASED CLEARANCES

The airport control and management system manages overall taxi, departure and arrival clearances in a unique and novel manner through the use of zone processing. A departure ground taxi clearance is issued to the selected vehicle. The waypoints and travel path are drawn into the map aboard the selected vehicle. The vehicle(s) then use the presented taxi information to proceed to the final waypoint. AC&M processing uses this clearance information to mask runway zone incursions along the travel path. Since runway incursions are masked for only the selected vehicle and for zones traversed no runway incursion alert actions or warning lights are produced when following the proper course. Should the position represent movement outside of the established corridor, an alert is issued signifing an off course condition exist for that vehicle. Upon the vehicle exit from a particular "cleared" zone, the mask is reset for that zone. Once the last waypoint is reached the clearance is removed and the zone mask is reset. The description below details how such clearances are managed.

SURFACE DEPARTURE CLEARANCE MANAGEMENT METHOD

1. The operator or controller wishes to issue a surface departure clearance to a specific vehicle.

2. Through the use of a data entry device such as a touch screen or keyboard or mouse, issue waypoints command is selected for surface departure waypoints.

3. The operator is asked to select a specific vehicle from a list of available aircraft and vehicles.

4. The vehicle data window then displays a scrollable list of available vehicles contained in a database which are capable of performing operations of departure clearance.

5. The operator then selects the specific vehicle using a data entry device such as a touch screen or other data entry device.

6. A list is then displayed in a scrollable graphical window of available departure travel paths for the selected vehicle.

7. The operator then selects from this list using a data entry device such as a touch screen or other data entry device.

8. Upon selection of a particular departure path the waypoints and travel path are drawn into a 3-D ALP. The purpose of presentation is to show the controller or operator the actual path selected.

9. The controller or operator is then asked to confirm the selected path. Is the selected path correct? Using a data entry device such as a touch screen or other data entry device a selection is made.

10. If the selected path was not correct, then the command is terminated and no further action is taken.

11. If the selection was correct the following steps are taken automatically:

a. AC&M processing sends to the selected vehicle using a radio duplex datalink, the clearance, 4-D waypoint and travel path information

b. The selected vehicle upon receipt of the ATC command replies with an acknowledgment. The acknowledgment is sent over the full duplex radio datalink to the AC&M processing

c. Should the AC&M processing not receive the acknowledgment in a specified amount of time from the selected vehicle, a re-transmission occurs up to a maximum of N re-transmissions

d. The vehicle upon receiving the ATC command then "loads" the 4-D navigator with the 4-D waypoint information. A map display contained in the vehicle then draws into the 3-D ALP the departure travel path as shown in FIG. 8. This figure shows travel path as 30 in the digital ALP 31 while actual waypoints are shown as 14 spheres 32.

DEPARTURE CLEARANCE MANAGEMENT METHOD

1. The operator or controller wishes to issue a departure clearance to a specific aircraft.

2. Through the use of a data entry device such as a touch screen or keyboard or mouse, issue waypoints command is selected for departure waypoints.

3. The operator is asked to select a specific vehicle from a list of available aircraft.

4. The vehicle data window then displays a scrollable list of available aircraft contained in a database which are capable of performing operations of departure clearance.

5. The operator then selects the specific vehicle using a data entry device such as a touch screen or other data entry device.

6. A list is then displayed in a scrollable graphical window of available departure travel paths for the selected vehicle.

7. The operator then selects from this list using a data entry device such as a touch screen or other data entry device.

8. Upon selection of a particular departure path the waypoints and travel path are drawn into a 3-D ALP. The purpose of presentation is to show the controller or operator the actual path selected.

9. The controller or operator is then asked to confirm the selected path. Is the selected path correct? Using a data entry device such as a touch screen or other data entry device a selection is made.

10. If the selected path was not correct, then the command is terminated and no further action is taken.

11. If the selection was correct the following steps are taken automatically:

a. AC&M processing sends to the selected vehicle using a radio duplex datalink, the clearance, 4-D waypoint and travel path information.

b. The selected vehicle upon receipt of the ATC command replies with an acknowledgment. The acknowledgment is sent over the full duplex radio datalink to the AC&M processing.

c. Should the AC&M processing not receive the acknowledgment in a specified amount of time from the selected vehicle, a re-transmission occurs up to a maximum of N re-transmissions.

d. The vehicle upon receiving the ATC command then "loads" the 4-D navigator with the 4-D waypoint information. A map display contained in the vehicle then draws into the 3-D ALP the departure travel path as shown in FIG. 9. This figure shows travel path as 34 in the digital ALP 35 while actual waypoints are shown as (11) spheres 36.

12. Upon AC&M receiving the acknowledgment, the following is performed:

a. the zone mask is updated indicating that the selected vehicle has a clearance to occupy runway(s) and taxiway(s) along the travel path. This mask suppresses zone runway incursion logic for this vehicle.

b. the zone based lighting control processing then activates the appropriate set of airport lights for the issued clearance in this case Take Off Lights.

13. The vehicle now has active navigation information and may start to move, sending out ADS message broadcasts over the datalink to other vehicles and the AC&M system.

14. The selected vehicle ADS messages are received at the AC&M system and at other vehicles.

15. AC&M processing using information contained in the ADS message performs mirrored navigational processing, as outlined in a latter section.

16. Zone incursion checking is performed for every received ADS message using position projection techniques for zones contained in the zones database.

17. Should a zone incursion be detected, the zone mask is used to determine if the incurred zone is one which the vehicle is allowed to be in. If the zone is not in the zone mask then a warning is issued. Should the zone be that of a Runway, a Runway Incursion Alert is Issued and the appropriate airport lights are activated.

18. The ADS position is used to determine when the vehicle leaves a zone. When the vehicle leaves the zone, the clearance mask is updated indicated travel though a particular zone is complete. When this occurs the following steps are initiated by the AC&M:

a. the zones mask is updated

b. airport light status is updated

If the exited zone was a Runway, operations may now occur on the exited runway.

19. The vehicle continues to travel towards the final waypoint.

20. At the final waypoint the navigator and the map display are purged of active waypoint information, meaning the vehicle is where it is expected to be. New waypoints may be issued at any time with a waypoints command function.

AC&M zones based clearance function as presented here provides a unique and automated method for the controlling and managing airport surface and air clearances.

COLLISION DETECTION

Collision detection is performed through the zones management process. The basic steps for collision detection and avoidance are shown below in a general form. FIG. 10 shows graphically what the following text describes.

1. Vehicle Position, Velocity and Time (PVT) information are received for all tracked vehicles. The following processing is performed for each and every ADS vehicle report.

2. PVT information is converted to the appropriate coordinate system if necessary and stored in the database.

3. A rough check zone 38 and 39 is established based on the current velocity for each vehicle in the database.

4. Every vehicle's rough check radius is compared with every other vehicle in the database. This is done simply by subtracting the current position of vehicle V from the position of vehicle V+1 in the database to determine the separation distance between each vehicle and every other vehicle in the database. This is performed in the ECEF coordinate frame.

5. For each pair of vehicles in the database that are within the sum of the two respective rough check radii values; continue further checking since a possible collision condition exists, if not within the sum of the rough check radii do no further processing until the next ADS message is received.

6. For each set of vehicles which have intersecting rough check radii project the position ahead by an increment of Time (t) using the received vehicle velocity and optionally acceleration information. Projected positions at time=T1 are shown by two circles 40 and 41 the minimum safe clearance separation for the fuel truck R1 and aircraft R2 respectively.

7. Determine the new separation distance between all vehicles which initially required further checking. Compare this distance to the sum of minimum safe clearance distances R1 and R2 for those vehicles at the new incremented time. The minimum safe clearance distances R1 and R2 are contained in a database and is a function of vehicle velocity and type. Should the separation distance 42 between them be less than the sum of the minimal safe clearance distances R1+R2, then generate alert warning condition. Record the collision time values for each set of vehicles checked. If no minimum safe clearance distance is violated then continue checking the next set of vehicles in a similar fashion. When all vehicles pairs are checked then return to the start of the vehicle database.

8. Increment the projection time value (T+t) seconds and repeat step 7 if separation was greater than the sum of the minimal safe separation distance R1+R2. Continue to increment the time value to a maximum preset value, until the maximum projection time is reached, then process next pair of vehicles in a similar fashion, until the last vehicle is reached at that time start the process over. If minimum safe clearance (R1+R2) was violated compare the time of intersection to the previous time of intersection. If the previous intersection time is less than the new intersection time the vehicles are moving apart, no collision warning generated. In the event that the vehicles are moving together, meaning the intersection times are getting smaller, determine if a course change is expected based upon the current waypoints issued, and if the course change will eliminate the collision condition. If a course change is not expected or if the course change will not alleviate the collision situation then generate alert. If the projection time T is less than the maximum projection time for warning alerts, generate a warning. If the projection time T is greater than the maximum projection time for a warning alert and less than the maximum projection time for a watch alert, generate a watch alert. If the projection time T is greater than the maximum projection time for a watch alert generate no watch alert.

9. The warning condition generates a message on the ALERT display identifying which vehicles are in a collision warning state. It also elevates the layer identifier code for those vehicle(s) to an always displayed (non-maskable) warning layer in which all potentially colliding vehicles are displayed in RED.

10. The watch condition generates a message on the ALERT display identifying which vehicles are in a collision watch state. It also elevates the layer identifier code for that vehicle(s) to an always displayed (non-maskable) watch layer in which all potentially colliding vehicles are displayed in YELLOW.

11. The process continually runs with each new ADS message report.

The sample code below performs the above collision processing, without the routine which checks for course changes, to reduce false alarms. ##SPC2##

ON OR OFF COURSE PROCESSING

The AC&M processing performs mirrored navigational processing using the same coordinate references and waypoints as those aboard the vehicles. In this manner the ATC system can quickly detect off course conditions anywhere in the 3-D airport space envelope and effectively perform zone incursion processing aboard the vehicles and at the AC&M.

The AC&M processing software converts the position and velocity information to the appropriate coordinate frame (zone & map compatible) using techniques described previously. Waypoints based upon the precise 3-dimensional map are used for surface and air navigation in the airport space envelope. The capability is provided to store waypoints in a variety of coordinate systems, such as conventional Latitude, Longitude, Mean Sea Level, State Plane Coordinates, ECEF X, Y, Z and others. The navigational waypoint and on course--off course determinations are preferred to be performed in an ECEF X, Y, Z coordinate frame, but this is not mandatory.

The following mathematical example is provided to show how waypoints and trajectories are processed in Latitude, Longitude, Mean Sea Level and in ECEF X, Y, Z. An actual GNSS flight trajectory is used for this mathematical analysis. The flight trajectory has been previously converted to an ECEF X, Y, Z format as have the waypoints using the previously described techniques. FIGS. 11,12,13,14,15 are used in conjunction with the following description.

FIG. 11 depicts the ECEF waypoint processing used in the AC&M. The ECEF coordinate system 43 is shown as X,Y,Z, the origin of the coordinate system is shown as 0,0,0. The coordinate system rotates 44 with the earth on its polar axis. The airport 45 is shown as a square patch. An enlarged side view of the airport 46 is shown with 4 waypoints 47. A further enlargement of the shows the Present Position 48 (PP), the Next Waypoint 49 (NWP) the Previous Waypoint (PWP) 50. The True Course Line 58 is between the Next Waypoint 49 and Previous Waypoint 50. The vector from the Present Position 48 to the Next Waypoint 49 is vector TNWP 51. The Time and Velocity Vector 52 Projected Position is shown as a solid black box 53. The Projected Position 53 is used in zone incursion processing. The 3-D distance to the true coarse is represented by the Cross Track Vector 54 XTRK. The vector normal to the earth surface at the present position and originating at the center of mass of the earth is shown as 55. This vector is assumed to be in the same direction of the vertical axis 56. The lateral axis 57 is perpendicular to the vertical axis and perpendicular to the true course line 58 between the Next Waypoint 49 and the Previous Waypoint 50. The Navigational Display 59 shows the Present Position 48 with respect to the True Course Line 58.

The following equations describe the processing performed in the AC&M while FIGS. 12, 13, 14, and 15 represent plots of the actual trajectory information. ##SPC3##

Should the Range to the Waypoint become larger than the previous range of the waypoint a waypoint may not have automatically indexed. This situation could occur if the vehicle did not get close enough to the waypoint to index automatically or an ADS message may have been garbled and the waypoint did not index, due to a lost ADS message. In this case the following analysis is performed:

a) temporarily increment the waypoint index

b) find the vector between the vehicles present position (PP) and the next waypoint (NWP)

Vector to the next waypoint, TNWP=NWP(X,Y,Z)-PP(X,Y,Z)

c) Determine the current vehicle velocity vector

VEL=(VX,VY,VZ)

d) Determine the Dot Product between the Velocity Vector and Vector TNWP

COS 0=TNWP dot VEL

e) If A<COS 0<B then keep current waypoint index

Where A and B are between 0 and 1 and represent an adjustable value based on the allowable vehicle velocity angular deviation from the true course

If -1<COS 0<=0 then return to previous waypoint index and generate wrong way alert

The above technique can be expanded to include curved approach, using cubic splines to smooth the transitions between waypoints. A curved trajectory requires changes to the above set of equations. Using the technique of cubic splines, one can calculate three cubic equations which describe smooth (continuous first and second derivatives) curves through the three dimensional ECEF waypoints. The four dimensional capability is possible when the set of cubic equations is converted into a set of parametric equations in time.

Typical Waypoint ECEF Matrix

The AC&M processing utilizes the combination of precise ECEF X, Y, Z navigation and waypoints. Waypoints may be stored in a data file for a particular runway approach, taxi path or departure path. Waypoints may be entered manually, through the use of a data entry device. A list of waypoints describing a flight and or taxi trajectory is then assigned to a particular vehicle. To further supplement waypoint processing expected arrival time may be added to each waypoint as well as velocity ranges for each phase of flight. In this manner, 4 dimensional airport control and management is provided utilizing a GNSS based system. Mathematical processing is used in conjunction with precise waypoints to define flight trajectories. The mathematics typically uses cylindrical shapes but is not limited to cylinders, cones may also be used, and are defined between adjacent waypoints. Typical on or off course processing is outlined below and is shown in FIG. 16.

EXAMPLE 1: MISSED WAYPOINT, WITH OFF COURSE CONDITION

a. Construct the True Course line between the previous waypoint 61 and the next waypoint 62.

b. Determine the shortest distance (cross track error 64) from the current position 63 to the line 60 between the previous waypoint 61 and next waypoint 62.

c. Determine the magnitude of cross track error.

d. Compare the magnitude of the cross track error to a predefined limit for total off course error shown as 65 in the figure.

e. Construct an mathematical cylindrical zone centered on the line between the previous 61 and next waypoint 62 with radius equal to the off course threshold 65.

f. If the magnitude of the cross track error 64 is greater than the off course threshold 65 then raise flag and generate alert (off course).

g. Determine the necessary velocity to reach next waypoint on schedule, as shown previously.

h. Is necessary velocity within preset limits or guidelines?

i. Check actual current velocity against preset limits and necessary velocity, If above preset limits, raise flag and issue alert to slow down. If below preset limits, raise flag and issue alert to speed up.

j. Automatically index to the following waypoint 66 when the position is within the index waypoint circle 67.

k. Should wrong way be detected (positions 68 and 69), index ahead to the next to waypoint pair 66 and 62 and check direction of travel 71 (Velocity) against the line 72 between the waypoints 66 and 62, if the direction of travel is within a preset angular range 70 (A to B degrees) and not off course. If the check is true meaning not off course and headed towards next waypoint then index permanently to waypoint set 66 and 62, no alert generated.

l. In the event that an off course condition and wrong way occur (position 69) a message is formatted which updates the layer filter for the target which is off course, an alert is generated, the waypoints are returned to the initial settings and action is taken to bring vehicle back on course possibly using a set of new waypoints.

m. In the event of a velocity check which indicates that the speed up or slow down velocity is outside of an approved range, generate a warning the speed for vehicle is out of established limits, Preset speed over ground limits are adjusted for current air wind speed.

n. The controller reviews the situation displayed and if necessary invokes a navigational correction message to be sent to the Real Time Communication Handler, and then broadcast by radio to the aircraft off course or flying at the wrong speed. The controller at this time may change the expected arrival time at the next waypoint if so necessary.

EXAMPLE 2: MISSED WAYPOINT, WITH ON COURSE PROCESSING

a. Construct the True Course line between the previous waypoint 66 and the next waypoint 72.

b. Determine the shortest distance (cross track error 73) from the current position 74 to the line between the previous waypoint 66 and next waypoint 72.

c. Determine the magnitude of cross track error.

d. Compare the magnitude of the cross track error to a predefined limit for total off course error shown as 75 in the figure.

e. Construct an mathematical cylindrical zone centered on the line between the previous waypoint 66 and next waypoint 72 with radius equal to the off course threshold 75.

f. If the magnitude of the cross track error 73 is greater than the off course threshold 75 then raise flag and generate alert (off course).

g. Determine the necessary velocity to reach next waypoint on schedule, as shown previously.

h. Is necessary velocity within preset limits or guidelines?

i. Check actual current velocity against preset limits and necessary velocity, If above preset limits, raise flag and issue alert to slow down. If below preset limits, raise flag and issue alert to speed up.

j. Automatically index to the following waypoint 76 when the position is within the index waypoint circle 77.

k. Should wrong way be detected (position 74), index ahead to the next to waypoint pair 76 and 72 and check direction of travel 78 (Velocity) against the the line 80 between the waypoints 76 and 72, if the direction of travel is within a preset angular range 79 (A to B degrees) and not off course. If the check is true meaning not off course and headed towards next waypoint then index permanently to waypoint set 76 and 72, no alert generated.

l. In the event of a velocity check which indicates that the speed up or slow down velocity is outside of an approved range, generate a warning the speed for vehicle is out of established limits, Preset speed over ground limits are adjusted for current air wind speed.

m. The controller reviews the situation displayed and if necessary invokes a navigational correction message to be sent to the Real Time Communication Handler, and then broadcast by radio to the aircraft off course or flying at the wrong speed. The controller at this time may change the expected arrival time at the next waypoint if so necessary.

The AC&M processing performs all on or off course processing determinations and the displays information related to on or off course or late or early arrival conditions. While FIG. 17 summarizes speed up--slow down information in graphical form 80 and distance to the waypoint 81 from an actual GNSS landing. The neutral line 82 labelled "0" translates to no velocity change is necessary to reach next waypoint on time.

ALERT DISPLAY FUNCTION

Within the AC&M system collision alerts, zone, off course and improper speed warnings are handled somewhat differently than normal position updates. When the AC&M processing recognizes a warning condition, the aircraft(s)/vehicle(s) involved are moved to a special ALP layer. The layer filter controls what graphic parameters a particular vehicle or aircraft is displayed with. The change in the layer from the default vehicle layer signifies that the target has been classified as a potential collision, zone intrusion risk, off course condition or improper speed.

AC&M CONTROL ZONES

ATC Control Zones are used to sort and manage air and surface traffic within the airport space envelope. The AC&M Control Area is divided into AC&M Control Zones. Typically the outer most airport control zone interfaces with an en route zone. Aircraft within the 3-D AC&M zone transmit their GNSS derived positions via an on board datalink. The GNSS data is received by the airport AC&M equipment. The AC&M Processing determines the ECEF AC&M Control Zone assignment based on the aircraft's current position and assigns the aircraft to the map layer associated with that Control Zone. Mathematical computations as defined previously, are used to determine when a vehicle is in a particular control zone.

As an aircraft enters the AC&M or transitions to another ATC Control Zone, a handoff is performed between the controllers passing and receiving control of that aircraft. Surface traffic is handled in the same manner. With this AC&M scenario, each controller receives all target information but suppresses those layers that are not under his control. In this manner the controller or operator views on those vehicles or aircraft in his respective control zone. Should there be a collision condition across an ATC zone boundary the conflicting vehicles will be displayed in a non-surpressable layer.

All targets within an AC&M Control Zone would be placed in the appropriate map layer for tracking and display purposes. Layer coding for each tracked target can be used to control graphic display parameters such as line type, color, line width as well as be used as a key into the underlying database for that object.

Additional AC&M Control Zones may be defined for other surface areas of the airport, such as construction areas, areas limited to specific type of traffic, weight limited areas and others. These areas may be handled through ATC but will most or be controlled by airline or airport maintenance departments.

The concept of a zone based AC&M system integrated with 3-D map information provides a valuable management and navigational capability to all vehicles and aircraft within the airport space envelope.

ENTERING WAYPOINTS

The AC&M processing defined herein allows the user to enter waypoints using the digital map as a guide. To enter a series of waypoints the controller simply uses the map which may provide plan and side views of the airport space envelope. The cursor is moved to the appropriate point and a selection is made by pressing a key. The position is then stored in a list with other waypoints entered at the same time. The user is then prompted to enter a name for the waypoint list and an optional destination. Lastly, the waypoints converted the appropriate coordinate frame and are then saved to a file or transmitted to a particular vehicle. In this manner the user may add and define waypoints.

DEFINING ZONES

The user may define zones using the digital map as a guide. To enter a series of zones the controller simply uses the map which may provide plan and side views of the airport space envelope. The cursor is moved to the appropriate point and a selection is made by pressing a key. The position is then stored in a list with other zone definition points. The controller is then prompted to enter a name for the zone (pole, tower, construction area, etc.) and type of zone (circle, sphere, box, cylinder, etc.). Lastly, the zones are converted to the appropriate coordinate frame and saved to a file or transmitted to a particular vehicle. In this manner the user may define additional zones.

The ability to quickly and accurately define zones is key to the implementation of a zones based AC&M capability.

It is obvious that minor changes may be made in the form and construction of the invention without departing from the material spirit thereof. It is not, however, desired to confine the invention to the exact form herein shown and described, but is desired to include all such as properly come within the scope claimed.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification701/120, 342/36, 340/961, 342/456, 701/301
International ClassificationG01S5/14, G01S5/00, G08G5/00, G01S1/04, B64F5/00, G01C23/00, G08G5/06, G01S19/11, G01S19/14, G01S19/07
Cooperative ClassificationG01S19/14, G01C23/00, G01S19/15, G01S19/07, G01S19/53, G08G5/0082, G01S5/0009, G01S1/047, G08G5/0026, G08G5/0013
European ClassificationG01S19/15, G08G5/00F4, G01C23/00, G01S5/00R, G01S1/04D, G08G5/00A4, G08G5/00B4, G01S19/07, G01S19/14
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